20080413 Cawston Woods – Early morning walk
When : 13 April 2008
Who : Just me
Where : Cawston, Rugby, Warwickshire, England
Map : 1:25000 OS Explorer Map 222 Rugby & Daventry
Grid ref : 47,73 general area
I took this opportunity of exploring Cawston Spinney by myself early in the morning (before the family were up and moving) … I was out the door at about 7 a.m., some might say a tad early for a Sunday morning, but given the choice between a pile of ironing or other such mundane stuff, I headed off down Cawston Lane to the woods.
It was a non-descript morning weather-wise, a little brightness but mostly dull cloud-cover and it had that damp chill that seems to creep into your bones. Despite this I had a little ulterior motive in doing this little exploration.
I had lived in the immediate area for about 6 years, and had walked on the only two official rights of way that go through what are known collectively as Cawston Woods [the OS map has the woods named as Cawston Spinney, Fox Covert and Boat House Spinney] … but if you say Cawston Woods everyone locally seems to know where you are talking about.
As I don’t like straying off official rights of way, especially in lowland farming areas, I hadn’t ventured into these woods before, but I’d become aware that they did seem to be used as if they were a bit of a public amenity. Today, therefore, I decided to make a bit of a reconnoitre as they have a reputation as superb bluebell woods each spring, and I’d like to take the kids there if access was indeed OK.
The route took me to the large island at the main entrance to the Cawston Grange Estate and then a few hundred yards alongside the A4071 (away from Bilton/Rugby) before turning left into Cawston Lane. This is a narrow lane with a fair bit of traffic at times, so if you do this walk, please take care. The general rule I tend to follow is to walk on the right-side of the road so that you’re facing oncoming traffic, as it means you can see what’s approaching.
After several hundred yards (or metres if you’re young enough to only think in metric) there is a small dirt lay-by. There are often a few cars parked here, I assume people probably taking their dogs out for a run in the woods.
It was here that I headed into the woods (Fox Covert) passing a large ugly circular concrete “thing” collecting rubbish. I suppose it might be the remains of a water treatment plant? And after picking my way through some muddy bits the path became quite sizeable and the woods (mostly deciduous) were much more open than I’d imagined.
A bit of very easy exploring on the numerous paths, confirmed the blue-bells were indeed widespread but they were only just poking up the first few flower buds. I reckoned probably another couple of weeks would be needed before they would be in full bloom. Eventually I emerged onto the main path through the woods (between Cawston and Windmill Farms). I crossed straight over to enter Cawston Spinney, effectively the same woods just on the other side of the farm track.
Route-finding however became more problematic, the path becoming narrower and much twistier; almost completely petering out as it became boggier eventually reaching a small stream. However, from the map, I knew I was near to the pool at the far west of the spinney and another right of way footpath.
Therefore, rather than return the way I came, I followed the footprints of those that had been before me and I picked my way across the stream and climbed a rough bank to avoid a fallen tree, to emerge onto a wide verge around a ploughed field.
I warily skirted the field briefly, staying as close to the trees as possible, before again descending to pick up the south bank of the pool and a much better path again.
I’m sure the purists will say I was technically not on official rights of way, and I’ve got to say it didn’t feel right being where I was, but I kind of justified it to myself by all the other footprints showing a fair few had travelled the route before (in both directions).
The pool (yes that’s a good description as its bigger than a pond and it’s certainly not a lake), which isn’t named on my OS map, has just a few drainage ditches feeding into it, and the small outflow heads northwards, eventually feeding into the River Avon near Long Lawford.
At the north-western point of the pool I picked up an official footpath and headed up and over a ploughed field to rejoin the A4071 at Brickyard Spinney. I immediately crossed this busy main road and turned right on the pleasant footpath set back from the road and separated by a broad grass verge. There are several mature blossom trees along this section of road which look fantastic when in full bloom each spring. It wasn’t long before I was home again.
I probably wasn’t out for more than an hour, but I had discovered a bit of my local area I’d not seen before and I decided I’d certainly visit Fox Covert again and probably not do the section through Cawston Spinney to the pool again, at least not in a hurry.
- In fact, I was back just a couple of weeks later in early May, with my kids, and the transformation was quite startling, the bluebells in bud during this walk were now in full bloom; for the post about my return visit please use the link : https://tothehills.wordpress.com/2008/11/13/20080505_cawston-woods-bluebell-walk/
- For other of my local walks around Cawston and the surrounding area, please visit the following links, or go to the “Cov, Warks” category folder for my local walks posts.
I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….